written and photographed by Alan Berner "Oh,givemeland,lotsoflandunderstarryskiesabove,don'tfencemein... " When Cole Porter and Robert Fletcher...

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“Oh, give me land, lots of land

under starry skies above, don’t fence me in…”

When Cole Porter and Robert Fletcher wrote those lyrics in 1934, Edith Macefield’s little Ballard cottage was surrounded by similar homes and, no doubt, plenty of Scandinavians, many of whom were millworkers.

Now, a holdout, the only house on the block is surrounded by new construction, its 86-year-old owner having declined an offer reported to be more than $750,000.

It’s been Edith’s home for more than a half-century, and soon she’ll be engulfed by a concrete New Ballard that will include a grocery store, fitness club and parking garage.

English jurist Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634) was quoted as saying: “For a man’s house is his castle, et domus sua cuique tutissimum refugium” (and one’s home is the safest refuge for all).

He could have had Edith Macefield in mind.